The IETF community works mostly online, guided by the informal principle: "we believe in rough consensus and running code".
The IETF's mission is to make the Internet work better by producing high quality, relevant technical documents that influence the way people design, use, and manage the Internet. IETF standards are built on the combined engineering judgement of participants, including individuals from academia and network operators, router vendors and open source projects. Success is measured by the extent that the protocols and practices developed in the IETF is used to make the Internet work better.
Working groups are the primary place where IETF work gets done.
Much of the daily work of the IETF is conducted on electronic mailing lists.
Held three times a year, IETF meetings are week-long "gatherings of the tribes". The primary goal is to allow key working groups to accomplish their tasks and mix with other working groups across disciplines.
An unofficial motto of the IETF is, "We believe in rough consensus and running code." Implementation experience provides critical feedback to the standardization process.
The IETF community works mostly online, and creates many of the tools used to develop standards documents and support IETF processes.
The IETF community often has discussions about topics that are of interest to the broader IETF community.